Dear Humankind and all of your media,
I am writing to request that you please stop using me, a polar bear, as an all-encompassing poster child for climate change. It’s not my fault that you guys have warmed up the planet beyond repair, and I don’t want the public to associate me with that.
I wanted to send an official cease and desist but my lawyer melted in 2016 so now I have to speak for myself. First of all, I never signed an appearance release, and most of those times, I didn’t even know there were cameras pointing at me. Secondly, I don’t look good in any of those photos. Having embarrassing photos of you go viral without consent should just be a universally relatable fear, right? And lastly, all of those photos remind me of some pretty rough memories.
Let’s talk about Earth Day. What was once a day I didn’t realize existed is now a very triggering annual experience for me, to the point where I have to stay off social media for a whole week. Every blog post, ad, and article gets covered with my face next to the words “GLOBAL WARMING” or “SAVE THE PLANET” or “DONATE TO OUR ORGANIZATION”. Now, maybe some other species like the giraffe or the ring-tailed lemur would be flattered by the glamorization of their extinction (lemurs love drama), but I don’t value having my personal image associated with the end of the world.
In all of those photos, I’m at the weakest, most tired, and thinnest I’ve ever been. Being thin isn’t an attractive trait to polar bears. It’s because I haven’t eaten fish in months, since they migrated to colder waters, and fish used to be my main source of protein. Now it’s just shitty take-out (which is when you take-out one of your brethren for their flesh).
The least you could do is spend twenty minutes digging through my Facebook albums to find some better photos of me, when my fur was plump and I was unaware that the arctic sits on a bed of methane so massive its release could accelerate the annihilation of every living being. I used to be so carefree.
And, it’s not just me.
Those photos of my friends and I standing on the thin iceberg? They remind me of the look in Sven’s eyes when his cub drowned in what is now a lake. That photo of the melting ice cap reminds me of my youth, when we’d all laugh about how much we love ice caps. And that viral story about my buddies Igor and Tom wandering into Russian villages to find food reminds me of the worst hangover I’ve had, after eating those fermented ice potatoes.
And sorry, but, neither me or my species is responsible for climate change, yet we’re the ones you pity the most? That doesn’t line up. I don’t drive, I don’t fly, I don’t eat seaweed (we know how good that stuff is at capturing carbon), and I’d go so far as to say my carbon footprint is completely non-existent. I don’t even do two-day shipping any more (that’s when you spend two days watching ships go by, thus encouraging the shipping industry).
The more humans associate me with climate change, the more they’ll become desensitized to polar bears in general, because guess what? People don’t want to think about the end of the world, and neither do I. I can’t even express all this dread in therapy because, yep, you guessed it, my therapist melted in 2016 too.
So humans, please, stop using me as a poster child for all the problems caused by your excessive emissions of greenhouse gases, which by the way, are so excessive. Like, do you really need to burn all those fossil fuels? What’s even fun about that? I bet it doesn’t top a night out in Belush’ya Guba with the boys. That’s all you really need in life. Just some friends who haven’t melted, a few ice potatoes, and a sense of mental ease that you aren’t being used as the poster child for an existential threat. That’s the life.
Maybe, instead, you could be your own poster children for climate change. Perhaps a forest destroyed by a wildfire, or a female who has had to take off her clothes due to the heat. Or, really, try the lemurs. Trust me, they’re so here for that drama.